Don't Comcast the Internet

On April 24, 2015, fourteen months after the proposed transaction was first announced, Comcast withdrew its $45 billion bid to acquire Time Warner Cable—a decision that followed heightened opposition from a wide array of businesses, consumer groups and others, and decisions by federal officials to block the merger. Despite Comcast and Time Warner’s multi-million dollar lobbying and advertising campaign that argued “Together is Better”, CLS Strategies helped to manage a leaner campaign that proved together would have, in fact, been worse.

CLS Strategies was retained by COMPTEL, NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association and ITTA to build and spearhead the successful “Don’t Comcast the Internet” campaign—a business-driven campaign designed to inform federal regulators of the Comcast-TWC merger’s serious harms to competition, innovation and consumer choice, and to urge the FCC and Department of Justice to deny the merger. 

The multi-faceted campaign deployed traditional media and online platforms to maintain a steady drumbeat of activity to explain the consequences of the deal. We developed digital and social media content to educate and engage consumers and other stakeholders on Comcast-TWC’s anticompetitive record with a particular focus on the threats to the nation’s high-speed broadband.

After Comcast withdrew its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable, the statements issued by FCC Chairman Wheeler and Attorney General Holder made clear that our “Don’t Comcast the Internet” argument prevailed over the merging companies’ well-funded campaign.  Chairman Wheeler said that, “The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation especially given the growing importance of high-speed broadband to online video and innovative new services.” Attorney General Holder echoed the sentiment, saying that that the termination of this merger was “a victory not only for the Department of Justice, but also for providers of content and streaming services who work to bring innovative products to consumers across America and around the world.”